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UAE Set Its Sights on Mars: Plans to Colonize the Red Planet in 100 Years

Feb 21, 2017 03:56 AM EST
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Mars Curiosity Rover
UAE aims to establish the first inhabitable human settlement in Mars.
(Photo : NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS via Getty Images)

The race to Mars has become more exciting as the United Arab Emirates decided to join the fray and announced its plan to colonize the red planet in 100 years.

The century-long project, dubbed as "Mars 2117," aims to establish the first inhabitable human settlement in Mars. UAE is not the first one to show interest in leaving the Earth for the red planet. NASA and the private company SpaceX have previously announced that they also want to conquer Mars. However, UAE is the only one that set a more realistic timeframe for Mars colonization.

"The new project is a seed that we plant today, and we expect future generations to reap the benefits, driven by its passion to learn to unveil a new knowledge," said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, in a press release.

He further explained that UAE's goal is to spearhead international efforts for humans to land on other planets.

Read: 'Game of Thrones' Inspired 'Three-Eyed' Raven Set to Conquer Space 

As a long-term project, the first objective of the Mars 2117 project is to make space science and exploration more appealing to young Emiratis. In order to do so, UAE is planning to develop their educational system with space programs in space sciences set up in different universities.

The project will also create a scientific team of Emiratis that will be joined by international scientists and researchers. With the additional help from the international community, the research group will determine the best and fastest way to travel to and from Mars. The scientific team will also develop an integrated scientific visualization of how the human settlement will look like in the red planet.

Despite being formed just three years ago, the UAE space agency is rapidly catching up with its counterparts from other nations.

As part of its Mars 2117 project, the agency is set to launch an unmanned probe, dubbed as "Hope," by 2020. Hope is estimated to reach orbit by 2021. Once in orbit, Hope will study the atmosphere in the red planet and analyze the connection between the Mars of today and its ancient climate.

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